Trial and error...and error..
Sometimes you have to do a bit of experimentation, make some sacrifices, and be patient to get things right.
This is the lot of artists. Few of us get something new just right on the first try. Such was the case in creating my new mugs with pretty lacy patterns.
I can’t help myself wether I am at a yard sale, the grocery store, a kitchen store or craft store to peruse things that may become a good tool for making pottery. Sometimes when I look at objects, they require a little thinking out of the box since they will most often not be used for their intended purpose. I was in A.C. Moore one day nosing around the cake decorating department and came across these cool lacy fondant mats. I had no idea what I would use them for but I got them anyway.
I usually throw all of my mugs on the wheel, but once in a while when I don’t feel like bathing in wet clay (I am a sloppy potter) I will do a little hand building. I got the idea to use those fondant mats to roll and make cylinders, attach bottoms and handles and create the mugs.
While they were fun to make and came out looking very nice, I had to roll the clay for each one between to yard sticks with a rolling pin because I didn’t have a slab roller which made making them pretty time consuming.
Someone gave me the idea to throw the round mug on the potters wheel and then roll and attach the designs by wrapping them around the wet cylinder.
This worked great in theory and I made 3 of them this way. The unfortunate part was that they were very heavy. I also had some concern that I was not able to attach the decoration slab as well as I would have liked because pushing the two pieces together too hard with a rib on the inside while holding the outside of it would result in a messed up decoration.
I tried to deal with the weight issue by trimming the mugs on the inside of them. No dice. They were still heavy.
I also noticed how the bottom that I attached left a slight space between the lip and the wall of the mug and I became concerned with what might be happening between the decoration and the mug walls.
I had to make a decision, take the chance with them blowing up in the kiln or looking at all the time invested as education and destroy them.
I went for the latter and I’m glad I did. After smashing them apart, I saw what I suspected which was air pockets between the layers, and super thick bottoms. Neither of them good.
Lots of people commented on my Instagram and Facebook about how much they loved the mugs when I posted them au natural. I got the feeling that they might become popular, so I broke down and invested in a small portable slab roller just the right size for my studio.
Now the new mugs that I made still take a bit of time to make but not as much as rolling them by hand. I wish time were not of such great consideration and the sheer joy of making pretty things could totally rule the day but in the end, one needs to be able to work smart in order to keep prices as low as possible so that everyone can enjoy them. If you would like one, they are available in several colors and you can get them here.